Memphis Tiger basketball assistant Tony Barbee finally gets his chance to run a program. A high ranking source in the University of Texas El Paso athletic department says Barbee will be their next head coach. An announcement is expected tomorrow. Our affiliate KTSM in El Paso has confirmed Barbee was chosen over 6 other candidates including Kansas assistant Tim Jankovich and LSU assistant Butch Pierre. A long time assistant of Tigers coach John Calipari, the 35 year old Barbee also played for Calipari at Umass.
Known as one of the top recruiters in the country, Barbee will become the first African American head coach at UTEP. UTEP won the 1966 NCAA title starting 5 African Americans when they were known as Texas Western. The Miners finished 3rd in Conference USA this year, but were beat handily by the Tigers here in February. Barbee replaces Doc Sadler who suddenly left last week for the head coaching job at Nebraska.
Barbee and Calipari did not return calls Sunday.